Dear Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau,

I am a Maine resident, taxpayer, employee, voter and volunteer. Anyone with some/all of those qualifications deserves to be heard by those making or influencing laws that impact any aspect of our lives.

I am appalled by the May 24 response to the Republican and Libertarian lawmakers as they entered the State House. The policy on mask-wearing that you have set in the people’s house differs from that of the governor’s office revised orders, as well as state and federal CDC recommendations. Why, exactly?

You stripped them of their committee positions and replaced them not with other members of their own parties, but with Democrats. You have taken your “public health” argument and made it a partisan display of power. You have thwarted the will and rights of all their constituents. In essence, you told their voters, “You still have legislators, but I’ll allow them no power or influence.”

My involvement is a vested interest in ensuring that representative democracy continues. This action by your office does not reassure that the state’s representative process is safe under your “leadership.”

While it is alarming that you feel your office has the power to set different and stricter standards than other branches of government, even more so, it is unfathomable that you have so little respect for constituents that you could not set and make clear consequences in advance for “violations” of a policy: Meet with the legislators in a timely manner and, if the consequences were set out, respect the people’s votes by replacing those legislators on their committees with members of their parties.

Who gets shafted in these political games and displays of power? The voters and residents. A wise legislator would dial back from such an over-reaching response. And thoughtful legislators – no matter their party – would also decry this response.

I would think that all legislators would remember that political tides can change and responsible action within the democratic process will be critical when the majority is different in the future.

Lauren Bodenski
Cape Elizabeth